50% are focused on reducing agent/employee turnover and 44% are focused on implementing AI and automation to assist agents
Five9, a leading provider of the intelligent cloud contact centre, announced the results of its 2022 International Customer Service Index (CSI) Business Decision Makers Survey, which revealed new customer engagement and contact centre workplace trends. Five9 partnered with Zogby Analytics to survey business leaders across 17 different industries to assess their views on the state of customer and agent experience, and for the first time, the CSI Business Decision Makers Survey expanded internationally, into Europe and Canada, to identify global attitudes and trends.
The survey found significant changes in the role of customer service representatives, with 86% of respondents reporting a massive increase in call volumes, 53% flagging the need for more emotional intelligence and empathy during customer interactions, and 43% indicating agent calls are longer and more complex. As a result, 90% of business decision-makers are focusing more on their contact centre agent and employee experience.
“The global pandemic has forced companies of all sizes to place new emphasis not just on customer loyalty, but on employee loyalty and retention as well,” said Blair Pleasant, President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and author of the report. “Where ‘customer experience’ was once the rallying cry for many organisations, ‘employee experience’ has come to the forefront as well.”
Additional Key findings from the CSI survey include:
- The changing workplace: More than half of respondents noted challenges related to returning to the office, including employees not being willing to go into the office full time (54%) and a lack of flexible work options such as hybrid workforce/shift scheduling (42%). Employee preference against going to the office full-time is by far the biggest challenge faced by businesses in North America (65%, 20-40 percentage points higher than in each of the European countries surveyed), while lack of flexible work options (45%) and agent engagement/productivity (43%) are more of a challenge in Europe.
- Use of Digital and Non-Voice Channels Grows: 91% of respondents noted an increase in email, chat, and messaging as a percentage of interactions. More than two-thirds of respondents expect non-voice channel interactions to exceed 40% by 2024 (70% globally, 68% in North America, 73% in Europe). Similarly, 69% expect that over 40% of customer support interactions will be fully handled via self-service by 2024 (67% in North America, 72% in Europe).
- Artificial Intelligence Emerging: Approximately three out of four contact centers currently use AI (73% globally, 67% in North America, 80% in Europe). Globally, 93% of decision makers agree that AI can enhance self-service so agents can focus on more complex or sensitive issues; and 91% agree that it can provide agent assistance such as knowledge and guidance. Of the 73% using AI, 79% use conversational AI or IVA for customer self-service.
“AI technologies are now part of the overall contact centre arsenal, providing assistance to agents, customers, and contact centre operations,” said Scott Kolman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Five9. “By embracing collaborative intelligence, where AI and agents work together to enhance each other’s strengths, organisations can improve both customer and agent satisfaction, leading to better business outcomes.”
Since 2017, the Five9 Customer Service Index consumer and business decision maker surveys have provided data and insights to help businesses meet their customers’ ever-changing needs and expectations. The 2022 results were revealed and discussed during Five9 CX Summit, which took place Aug. 9-11, in Las Vegas.
Read the full report to see how priorities and attitudes vary across regions, industries and company size.